FDA proposes rules for nanotechnology in food

April 21, 2012 By MATTHEW PERRONE , AP Health Writer

(AP) -- Regulators are proposing that food companies that want to use tiny engineered particles in their packaging may have to provide extra testing data to show the products are safe.

The issued tentative guidelines Friday for and cosmetic companies interested in using , which are measured in billionths of a meter. Nanoscale materials are generally less than 100 nanometers in diameter. A sheet of paper, in comparison, is 100,000 nanometers thick. A human hair is 80,000 nanometers thick.

The submicroscopic particles are increasingly showing up in FDA-regulated products like sunscreens, skin lotions and glare-reducing eyeglass coatings. Some scientists believe the technology will one day be used in medicine, but the FDA's announcement did not address that use.

The draft guidance suggests the FDA may require food companies to provide data establishing the safety of any packaging using .

Under longstanding regulations, companies aren't required to seek regulatory approval before launching products containing established ingredients and materials, such as caffeine, spices and various preservatives.

But FDA officials said Friday that foods and packaging containing nanoparticles may require more scrutiny.

"At this point, in terms of the science, we think it's likely the exemption does not apply and we would encourage folks to come in and talk to us," said Dennis Keefe, director of FDA's office of food additive safety.

Keefe said companies are studying whether nanoparticles can reduce the risk of in certain foods. He said the agency is aware of just one food package currently on the market that uses nanoparticles but did not identify it. He said more are expected in coming years.

The FDA has previously stated its position that nanotechnology is not inherently unsafe; however, materials at the nano scale can pose different safety issues than do things that are far larger.

"This is an emerging, evolving technology and we're trying to get ahead of the curb to ensure the ingredients and substances are safe," Keefe said.

In a separate guidance, the FDA laid out suggestions for the use of nanotechnology in cosmetics, a practice which has been in use since the 1990s. Nanoparticles are used in skin moisturizer, mineral make up and other cosmetics.

The FDA has less authority over cosmetics than food additives. Generally, the FDA does not review cosmetics before they launch, and companies are responsible for assuring the safety of their products.

The FDA will take comments on both proposals for 90 days. There is no deadline for finalizing the documents.

Explore further: FDA: tobacco companies must report chemicals

shares

Related Stories

FDA: tobacco companies must report chemicals

March 30, 2012
(AP) -- Tobacco companies will be required to report the levels of dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes, chew and other products under the latest rules designed to tighten regulation of the tobacco industry.

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.